The MLB Most Valuable Players
The National League MVP Race
Brewers’ Yelich and Cain
The NL MVP race this year is exciting as ever, with more prospective winners this year than ever before. The hometown favorite is Christian Yelich, who currently sits in the top position for batting average, slugging, and OPS in the National League. He has hit for the cycle twice this season and has shown persistence under pressure. Someone who shouldn’t be overlooked is Lorenzo Cain, he has been one of the most consistent players in the NL as well as one of the best defensive players, currently leading the league in defensive runs saved.
Besides the Brewers, the obvious next choice is Javier Baez. He has shown that he is the MVP for the cubs, but his OBP of only .325 brings his profile down compared to other candidates.
Scherzer and deGrom
Leading the runnings for pitchers is Max Scherzer. He has dominated his field this year with an impressive ERA of only 2.53, especially because he has pitched the most innings of any pitcher this season at 220.2. He is also tied in the NL for strikeouts. An honorable mention for pitching this season would be Jacob deGrom who leads the league in ERA with 1.70.
Another player who has left his mark this season is Bryce Harper. He sits in the top ten overall for home runs, RBIs, runs, OBP and OPS. However, he is lacking in his batting average which is only .249.
Christian Yelich is the clear frontrunner for MVP of the National League. No one can rival his stats, or his incredible plays which have shown up consistently throughout the season. The Brewers would not be where they are if it weren’t for him.
The American League MVP Race
Unlike the National League, where there is a clear favorite in Yelich, the American League Most Valuable Player race is arguably one of the best ever. There are several candidates making strong cases for the MVP.
Boston’s Betts and Martinez
Much like the Brewers in the NL, the Red Sox of Boston have more than one candidate up for the prestigious MVP trophy. Both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez have contributed to the Red Sox’s first 100-win season in more than 75 years. There has been much debate over who the real MVP is for the Red Sox. Betts, who won the AL batting title, hit .346 with 32 HR (tied for 9th) and just 80 RBIs, also had the best WAR (10.9) in the league. Martinez on the other hand finished second in AVG behind Betts hitting .330. He was also second in HR (43) and first in RBIs (130). Mookie Betts may have a slight edge in MVP because of his defensive contributions to the team. Many have said, including Boston pitcher David Price, that Mookie Betts is the MVP of the league, but Martinez is the MVP of the team.
Elsewhere around the league, 3B Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros has emerged as a formidable option for MVP. He has stepped up with injuries to Star-power teammates Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer throughout the year. He hit .286 during the regular season with 31 HR and 103 RBI. Bregman also walked more than striking out and played a stellar third base this year. Don’t count him out of the race.
There can’t be talk of AL MVP without mentioning the Angels’ Mike Trout it seems, as he has been in the conversation since entering the league. He already has two MVPs in 5 years and is making a solid push for another. Hitting .312 with 39 HR, he is in the top five in both categories as well as second in WAR at 10.2.
The dark horse of the MVP race and frankly a performance nobody really saw coming, is the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman. With the third highest WAR in the AL (8.2), he hit .278 with 24 HR and 100 runs scored, but hitting isn’t the best part of his game. He is arguably the best defensive player in entire league with +24 defensive runs saved as well as every other major fielding category. This guy is special. He may not get the MVP this year, but watch out for him in the future.
MVP voters will have their work cut out for them in both the AL and NL as everyone waits to see who will take home the honor of their leagues Most Valuable Player.